For those who might not know, as well as a Lady Gaga song, Just Dance is a video game which originally came out at the end of 2009 for the Wii.
You attempt to mimic the moves on-screen and you get points for how well you do them. The more you hit the moves, the higher your score but you can play it even if you think you can’t dance. And, like most things, the more you do it, the better you get.
Blogging can be a bit like that, I think.
I’ve been reading a lot of ‘how to be a blogger’ type posts lately. And, as well as things such the importance of a clear and simple layout and good photos, they all stress the need for correct grammar, lack of waffle or overly flowery language, good spelling and punctuation.
In my opinion, and what I know about blogging would probably fit into one sentence, most of them are missing a final paragraph.
I would add: “Take note of all of the points above and…ignore them – at least for a while. If you have something to say, a message to share or a story to tell, just write. Don’t let the fact that you think you can’t spell, use the odd wrong word or are sometimes not sure about commas put you off.”
I don’t mean that in a patronising way; I am no expert, as I’m sure you can tell, and as the subs who edit my work copy would probably queue up to tell you.
But people who wield grammar and use of language as a weapon to silence or shut down what someone is trying to say infuriate me. I’ve seen it many times; when a person has nothing to counter an argument and zooms in on the fact that the other person has written “your” when they meant “you’re” to take the attention away.
For the record, I don’t think any of the blog posts I have read are trying to do that but it’s a touchy subject for me – and, reading some of the comments, I think for a lot of other people too.
I hated school and if I could get out of going, I would. Not because I didn’t like learning but because I did – and unfortunately my classroom wasn’t the place for that. My mum will say: “Well you did ok” but the lack of basic knowledge left me without a foundation to build on. It was (and still is) a problem – albeit one I have worked to put right.
You see, I had a dream. From the age of nine, I wanted to be a journalist.
At various points, starting at school, people told me I would never achieve it because I couldn’t spell or I didn’t understand this or that about how to use language. Luckily, I didn’t have a Plan B.
I make no secret of the fact that I love my job but, I suppose like most good things, it hasn’t come easy. It has been steep learning curve which, at some points, was awful, but I have worked hard and it has been worth every second for the privilege of telling other people’s stories – and hopefully, now, telling them well.
If you’re worried about the trolls, and unfortunately they probably will come, write just for your eyes at the start (a bit like me dancing in my living room). Build up your confidence and your knowledge.
But never let anyone tell you you can’t.
The dancing games have different levels and you can progress from easy to extreme/hard if you get better or, like me, you can just stick to easy and enjoy it.
I think blogging is the same.
The “how to” posts are correct, you’re not going to get on the high score leaderboard of blogging without the skills but not everyone wants that. Don’t let it stop you from saying what you want and enjoying it.
And, just in case you’re interested. Here is a nice young man showing you how Just Dance is played.